Can we influence you to utilise influencer marketing? Learn how to use influencer marketing to grow your brand with our insightful blog post.
How To Grow Brand Awareness with Influencer Marketing
It is common knowledge that social media has revolutionised the internet marketing landscape. With an abundance of tools available to use for research and management, businesses can pinpoint exactly who they would like to target, where they should target them, and when.
In essence, social media marketing has created a much more direct form of communication between businesses and consumers. Businesses can now ensure that they create targeted marketing messages, which are personalised and engaging, in order to reach specific audiences.
And, in among the targeted ads and organic branded content, lies Influencer Marketing.
Read on, to explore the purposes of influencer marketing and find out how your business can benefit from building relationships with these social media experts!
What is Influencer Marketing and what are the Benefits?
So, what exactly is influencer marketing? Fundamentally, it is a type of social media marketing which uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers who have a dedicated or large social following. According to recent studies, 49% of consumers depend on influencers’ recommendations prior to buying a product or service. This stat alone shows the huge potential in return from getting on board with influencer marketing!
Before buying into a product or service, most consumers do some form of research, whether that’s a quick Google search, reading TrustPilot ratings, or searching for in-depth, real-life reviews. If someone that you choose to follow on social media is using the product or service you’re considering, and they are choosing to recommend it, it’s likely to encourage you to convert.
The following are just some of the benefits of utilising influencer marketing:
- Influencers produce creative and original content
The content that influencers create can be repurposed on multiple channels.
- It creates SEO and backlink opportunities (for both parties)
When working with influencers who have their own website (bloggers), it can be a great opportunity to gain credible backlinks and can help your brand build out SEO benefits.
- They help build brand awareness and trust
Influencers will already have a specific target audience who they will have built up a trust with. Those followers are likely to trust the opinions on something that the influencer is recommending or already owns, increasing chances of conversion and overall sales.
- It forms a conversation starter
The interaction on social media with likes, comments and shares creates conversation and buzz around a product or services your brand offers
- It's a cost-effective method of advertising
Maybe this will surprise you but, in comparison to other methods of advertising, it is cost-effective to work with influencers! You are able to gain a comprehensive understanding of ROI and what you can expect in return from an influencers campaign, as opposed to traditional advertising which is reliant on keywords.
How to Identify Influencers that Fit Your Brand
When you think of influencer marketing, you typically might think of glamourous fashion and lifestyle brands but, in reality, any brand can work with influencers! If you have something to offer a particular niche, there's no reason an influencer in that category couldn't run a successful campaign. A great rule of thumb is to think of who your customer base is made up of and target influencers that fit this group.
When choosing influencers to work with, it's important to choose real people that fully reflect your customer base. Consider if the group of influencers you've chosen to work with is diverse and will speak to everyone you want to market your product to. Does your campaign include influencers of different ethnicities, skin colours, genders? Have you considered a range of body types, religions, physical abilities, sexual orientations and socio-economic statuses? My own Drum article discusses just why this is so important in greater detail!
But what type of influencers are out there?
Think of an influencer and celebrities most likely spring to mind, right? Well, everyone within their own rights can be considered influencers in one way or another, a lot of the time without even realising it!
Someone may influence you to buy an ice cream, just because you see them eating one, or perhaps wearing a certain brand of clothing – and the same concept applies within social media marketing.
When considering the best fit for your brand, it’s important to help to find the right influencer who will help you meet your KPI’s. There are lots of different types of influencers, which can be narrowed down into the following:
- Nano Influencers
Have between 1-10k followers and are extremely engaged with their community. They are normally cost-effective to work with.
- Micro Influencers
Normally have between 10k-200k followers, meaning that they are relatable and engaged with their audience. Micro influencers likely have a niche they focus on, which will in turn generate more focused leads. They will also work with specific brands and are most likely known within their niche or industry.
- Macro Influencers
Macro influencers have up to a million followers and are normally very well-known people. This type of influencer can reach a broader audience very quickly but they don’t have the same level of personal engagement with their users.
- Mega Influencers
These are your celebrities, who will create high brand awareness but will, of course, require a much more substantial budget.
- Fake Influencers
Influencers are to be wary of due to their negative connotations. These types of influencers will buy followers and engagement, often look like spam and will follow and unfollow people in order to curate a larger following.
In order to choose the right type of influencer for your business, you should consider factors such as engagement rate, comment quality, influencer reactions, followers and who they are following. Influencers can usually provide this information in media kits, and a browse through their profiles to judge things like comment quality will help assess if they're accurate.
Which Platforms do Influencers use?
The next factor to consider is the type of platform you should choose, and which channel you want to promote your business on. Do you want to promote with the same influencer across all channels? Most influencers will have a preference on where they are most active (and get the best results) and each platform will serve a different purpose, so this is important to consider.
Instagram is a very visual platform, but that doesn't limit you to choosing lifestyle or fashion influencers with profiles full of beautiful photography. miss.excel (a macro influencer with 570k followers) is a brilliant example of an influencer who falls outside of these niches with her own content (in this case, spreadsheets!), and uses clear branding and graphics to tie her profile together.
YouTube is great place to find influencers within the lifestyle category, who often record their daily lives and feature brands or products they're working with in highly natural contexts. Liza Prideaux is a great example here (a micro influencer with 97.1k subscribers) as her content naturally follows her day to day life and interests, including hair & beauty, interior design, cleaning, and travel. It's easy for her followers to imagine products she recommends in their own lives as a result.
Finally, TikTok influencers specialise in making short, snappy content that gets the point across, fast! Topics can be as diverse as any other platform, but you'll find the content is direct and clear. Users might create how-tos that can show your products in action (think, food, beauty, and DIYs) without the time investment of a long YouTube video. A mega influencer who's a great example of this is Hyram, though there are plenty of smaller influencers throughout the platform.
How to Approach Influencers
Now we’ve worked out who you might like to promote your business, how do you actually approach them? Communication will most likely happen via email or direct messaging on social channels. It’s critical that your outreach is personalised in some way, ensuring they understand that you like and already engage with their current content (and that you're not just casting a wide net!).
A key thing for influencers is that they remain authentic and trustworthy, so will be selective over which brands they work with that will fit with their own personal brand. It’s great to explain to them how your business could be a good fit for their channel and following, and why they might have an interest in running a campaign with you.
Within your initial outreach, it’s important that you explain clearly what your expectations are and be clear on what they can expect to receive in return as well. They will likely receive a lot of communication from many other journalists, brands, and followers, so keeping communication clear and concise is important.
It is sensible to create a detailed brief which the influencer can refer to if necessary, giving background on the brand, product or service, campaign concept, guidelines, and disclosure agreements.
What to Offer Influencers
In the past, it may have been enough to offer media shares in return for the promotion of your business. However, roles are more often than not reversed now, with influencers often having more followers than some brands. So, what do we offer influencers in return for the social media marketing work they do?
Smaller influencers may be happy to receive products in return for collaborations, whereas larger influencers will also require financial rewards to reflect the value they’ll be bringing to your brand.
For the influencers whose job it is to do it full-time, financial reward will be expected - after all this is their source of income and you are using their content consultation and creation services! Smaller influencers, however, may juggle an online presence with work so may have lower rates or might not request a financial reward at all (aside from your product, which should always be offered as part of the campaign)!
An ongoing brand association is also something which can be offered, as it gives the brand ambassador credibility and authority within their niche, but this will all depend on the size of the brand, what is associated with it, and what the influencer will gain from being tied to the brand name.
VIP experiences are a good incentive to work with a brand - this is where influencers can attend an event for free and receive exclusive information about the brand and potentially receive gifts which can then be promoted via their online channels. Naturally, for events and experience based brands, this is a no brainer but even brands selling physical products can host an event, which will act as a natural source of content for the influencers in attendance (think, vlogs, Instagram stories and TikTok videos of the event itself).
The most important thing to remember when approaching influencers and making an offer is to be respectful. A good opener is to request their rates and media kit, or make your offer and ask politely if that is something that interests them. They may counter with a higher rate and provide engagement and past campaign figures to support this, which is then for you to review. If this takes their rate outside of your budget, be polite, thank them for the information, and tell them you'll have to be in touch in the future if you can offer a better rate.
What Results You can get from Working with Influencers
When considering the results of working with influencers, there are three main areas to focus on: campaign reach, engagement, and revenue.
When reviewing campaign reach, you are assessing the impressions of each post, and how much traffic they have received. You need to look at how many followers the influencer has, and the traffic which has been generated to your website or social media pages.
Engagement reflection looks at the likes on posts created by the influencers, clicks on links within posts and factors such as shares and comments. The higher these rates are, the more engaging the content can be considered.
Finally, the main reason for brands and businesses deploying influencer marketing in the first place – revenue. There are a couple of ways of analysing revenue gained from an influencer campaign, one is via affiliate links (which add UTM codes unique to the influencer in order to track how much their referrals have spent) and the other is a bespoke promotional discount code for their followers to use. The discount code option is a great way of tracking how many people have used the code given to your specific influencers and will also add an extra reason for their followers to buy.
Are you Feeling Influenced?
So, now you have the information you need to make an informed decision on whether or not influencer marketing could benefit your brand or business. Will you be influenced to try out this clever marketing method?
If you’re interested in learning more about influencer marketing or have any questions you’d like to put to our PR or SEO experts, book in a call today. The full webinar on "How to grow brand awareness with influencer marketing" is available to watch here.